Whether it’s a relaxing vacation or a long trip for work, traveling means making plans for your HVAC system. You don't need it if you’re away, so you can adjust it as needed to minimize your energy use. At the same time, you shouldn't just leave it off for the entire time you're out of the house.
In general, it’s ideal to leave your HVAC system on and just make adjustments depending on the time of year. That way you can minimize energy costs without stressing about coming back to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the best thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you may be wanting to turn your HVAC system off before a trip, this could end up leading to big problems by the time you come back. This is especially true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
For instance, shutting the HVAC system off during the summer could produce very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you come back, but it could have also invited mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And in the winter, letting your house get cold will sometimes lead to pipes icing over or even bursting. It’s never fun to come home from a long trip only to find substantial water damage close to a broken pipe.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can optimize the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Considering you’re not home for 8 hours or more, it doesn’t seem sensible to keep an empty home the same temperature as when you're home. As a general rule, it’s encouraged to turn up the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. That means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, think about raising it to 76-77 while you’re gone.
But you may save even more if you try further adjustments to the temperature. As reported by the Department of Energy, you might save nearly 10% on your HVAC costs by raising the temperature by about 7-10 degrees.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Summer
If you’re leaving for a longer trip in the heart of summer, you can make larger adjustments. This helps you avoid using too much energy while still protecting your home from the problems that come with leaving it uncooled. Something like 5 degrees is appropriate for short trips while closer to 10 degrees is best if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or longer. If you prefer keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 should offer great results.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While on Vacation in Winter
To figure out the best thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would increase it in summer. 68 is a common winter thermostat setting, so adjusting to 63-58 will protect your plumbing while limiting how long your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Perks of a Smart Thermostat
A great way to manage your home’s HVAC system while away from home is with a smart thermostat. This innovative type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to understand your preferred comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic changes to the schedule for maximum energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can remotely control your HVAC system with a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, certain models can monitor electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They can also work with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system needs to run. It’s the optimal tool to simplify how you control your comfort system. If you’re planning on investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can receive true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re gone.